Friday, July 01, 2005

It's Not Just Me: Eno and I love to go back and forth on what we think people should be wearing, given that we are ourselves, pinnacles of sartorial splendor. My particular rant is the flip-flop as office wear; Eno tends to mock me, but I know it's just his way of agreeing with me.

Well, I was pleased to read on Slate today, a woman's impassioned, yet well-reasoned, plea to all of us to avoid the pitfall of summer sloth, and at least pretend to try. To wit:

If you have left your home in the past few weeks, you have no doubt witnessed some of the season's more common missteps: exposed bra straps; bare, bulging midriffs; bad sandals. And you may have asked yourself why the first warm days of the year are like a Halloween costume party—a chance for people to wear whatever (or however little) they desire.

As you might anticipate, most of her ire (really, it's more like frustration) is directed at the fairer sex, yet she does not spare us either:

Any discussion of shorts must eventually lead to the subject of men, the style's most enthusiastic proponents. I was once categorically against the phenomenon of men in shorts, but after listening to the impassioned pleas of several male friends, who point out that shorts are the masculine equivalent of the sundress and that jeans will lead to heat stroke, I have come around—sort of. Shorts are acceptable if they hit somewhere mid-thigh; among the most frightening of summer sights are men who have taken the notion of shorts far too literally. Shorts should also be neat and free of holes. This means don't truncate your college jeans in an attempt to emulate Tom Cruise in Endless Love. Summer is not, as many men think, an opportunity to get some use out of one's grungiest, most tattered clothing.
She also spend some words decrying the "mandal," discussed in these pages some time ago.

But, as any such column must, she saves the best for last with the flip-flop (the step-cousin to the mandal):

As for flip-flops, the sandal's plastic cousin, these are office-appropriate only if your co-workers don't mind that you sound like a metronome as you walk. Finally, with barely an inch between the wearer's feet and filthy city or suburban streets, flip-flops can be a health hazard. A friend gave them up after an audacious rat scuttled over her exposed foot. And when, one summer night on the subway platform in New York City, a street musician took one look at my dusty toes and began to improvise a song with the refrain "Lovely Girl With Dirty Feet," I vowed to save the flip-flops for the beach.

I could not have said it any better.


enobarbus said...

Fair enough, sayeth this mandal-hater. But I have spent the last six weeks wearing nothing but a tunic, toga, and sandals every day, often in 90-plus weather, and I'm beginning to think those Romans were on to something.

Razor said...

When in Rome...